Shoo the news blues, MLK on cultural change . . .

January 18th, 2016 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized


Shoo the news blues

Hi, I’m Jim. I’m a news junkie.

“Hi, Jim.”

Yep, I’m a ten to twelve hits-a-day, mainstream and online addict. In the morning it’s CBS radio news at 6 am. Then the local ABC station and “Good Morning, America.” At noon, it’s the independent affiliate. Six o’clock is FOX News and then “NBC Nightly News” at 6:30 pm. In between these regularly scheduled programs, I’m online for “The Drudge Report” and CNN.

Yikes, I probably need an intervention!

A lot of my friends have kicked the news habit cold turkey. I hear over and over, “The news is just so depressing, so I don’t watch TV or subscribe to newspapers.” For someone who carried a press pass for 15 years as a reporter and columnist, I have what my high school journalism teacher called “a nose for news.” Yep, I snort news like a thousand-dollar-a-day cocaine addict! But more importantly, I have a heart for the world; the news has become my prayer list.

Here are some important ways that you can shoo the news blues.

Eugene Peterson paraphrases 1 Timothy 2:1-7:

      The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free.

Don’t hate

It is so easy to hate people we deem our moral and political enemies: Islamic terrorists, members of your opposing party, human traffickers, etc. But there is only one enemy, and his name is Satan. All the rest are POWs “held captive by sin.” As a Christian soldiers, our mission is “to set them all free”—not demand their destruction.

Christ commands us in Matthew 5:43 to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” As you read or watch the news, remind yourself these individuals and groups are “held captive by sin,” and are to be loved and prayed for.

Don’t fear

While Israel was being crushed by foreign invaders, God’s prophet wrote:

      “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Things weren’t much better in first century Palestine when Israel was occupied by the Roman Empire. But Jesus teaches, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Fear’s root is often a lack of trust in God’s control of this, seemingly, out of control world. Jesus teaches in Matthew 10:28: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” 

Don’t despair 

Job seemed to receive nothing but bad news—really bad news! His family, his health and his wealth had been taken from him, yet he confidently proclaimed to his God, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

Isaiah had the same message: “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” (14:27).

There is a godly purpose in all the ungodly news stories we you see every day on the news. It is all part of God plan. Prophetic books of the Bible such as Daniel, Isaiah and Revelation, reveal that God and his devoted followers will triumph in the end!

Do pray

Remember Paul’s admonition: “[All] I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments. . . .”

To pray effectively, we have to be informed. That’s why I love the The Presidential Prayer Team’s mission to educate Christians to about the needs in the world and to encourage us to pray.

And then claim the psalmist promise as you watch or read the news: your prayer list! “When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17).

Jim has managed to write 20 books and over 2,000 articles in between watching and reading the news.

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Originally published by The Presidential Prayer Team, December 2015.


Martin Luther King, Jr.’s commandments for cultural change

In April 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. spelled out a radical strategy to change culture in his book, Why We Can’t Wait. Each participant in the Birmingham protests was required to abide by Dr. King’s “Ten Commandments.”

      1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.

      2. Remember always that the nonviolent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation—not victory.

      3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.

      4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.

      5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.

      6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

      7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.

      8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.

      9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

      10. Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

Today we celebrate the hope for cultural change that Martin Luther King, Jr. preached in word and deed. Click for my book chapter expanding on “Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.”


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